Friday, November 18, 2011

Food Waste Friday: How Long Does Coleslaw Last?

I don't think I actually tried coleslaw for the first time until I was at least 25.  I received a lot of coleslaw at various restaurants, but, like that piece of parsley served as garnish, I never actually thought people ate it.  This headline from The Onion confirmed my suspicions: 85 percent of US Coleslaw Remains Uneaten.

Funnily enough, when I was in New Orleans in June, I was served coleslaw, ate it, and really enjoyed it.  I suspect it was for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. In addition to coleslaw, I was served Macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach and bread pudding i.e. the coleslaw was refreshingly light.
  2. It's so flinging-flanging hot in New Orleans in June that I was thrilled to eat something cold.
  3. I am now a grownup and grownups eat things like coleslaw.
A couple weeks ago, Poor Girl Eats Well posted a recipe for Coleslaw that got the gears in my head churning, and started making me crave the stuff to the point of distraction.  I was convinced that if I became the kind of girl who eats a lot of coleslaw, I'd both lose girth and save money.  Cabbage is dirt cheap, yo.  What ended up happening instead, is that I panicked at the thought of shredding cabbage (how!?!) and bought the bagged coleslaw, which is just bagged, shredded cabbage, and then I didn't know what to add to it to make it taste like the slaw I'd had in New Orleans.  So I guessed.  I guessed poorly.

I added too much mustard and it just tasted like mustardy cabbage-- not good. I was going to try to rinse the whole mess in my fine mesh sieve, but what can I say, I am lazy.  So I've had disappointing cabbage hogging my fridge real estate for going on three weeks now.  I opened the contained the other day, convinced I'd find a science experiment, but it looks and smells totally fine.  I put it to the group: Do I have food waste, or just disappointing coleslaw that I should find a way to salvage?  Sub-question: How does one salvage disappointing coleslaw?


  1. This is not answering your question, but proposing an alternative: here at the casa de Puggle, we eschew your typical cole slaw for this crisper, fresher, not mayonnaise-y varietal:

  2. As long as something isn't moldy, and smells fine (and tastes fine) I'll eat it. However, the cabbage might be a little soggy at this point. I don't know what to do about the mustard. If you want to try to rinse it, you'd have to taste the cabbage first to see if it'd be worth it (i.e. still crispy). I kinda doubt it.

    Changing the subject a little, I've never liked creamy coleslaw. My family always got broasted chicken and coleslaw from the Tastee Freez in town (like Dairy Queen but better/more small town) and the coleslaw there was of the vinegar variety. Like the recipe in the comment above, it also involved some sweetening ingredient, such as sugar or honey, and there were poppy seeds. I don't know the exact recipe, but I can probably find something. The thing about this type of coleslaw is you don't want it too crispy--it needs to marinate. You also don't want it as limp as sauerkraut, but that shouldn't be a problem. Having said all that, I don't know if you would be able to rinse off your currrent cabbage enough to try to turn it into vinegar coleslaw. I don't think it would work. There would always be an underlying creaminess you couldn't get rid of.

    So basically I'm no help.

  3. I'm with Spy Girl, if it looks normal and doesn't smell, I will eat it.

  4. You could try to make it Crazy Burger style...kind of like Asian Slaw...I searched for coleslaw and ginger on epicurious and some looked promising...